'New normal' a day at a time


To the editor:

English is a living language, constantly changing and evolving with a rate of change that seems to be accelerating.

Some of the best cutting-edge, sharpest expressions from my college days today seem as quaint as proper Victorian English.

Only weeks ago, the most common topic of conversations revolved around the vaccine. Do you have yours? Which one? What did you have to do to get it? Did you get any reaction?

Today, the vaccine is no longer a topic of conversation.

Now we talk about returning to normal. When will it happen? What will the “new normal” be like?

I, for one, am not anxious to return to normal. At least not back to the normal that existed just prior to the pandemic. As I remember “normal” at that time, it was scarier than the virus threat.

Trump was still new and feeling his oats — an old English expression. He was practicing his “Art of the Deal” with his new best buddies in China, North Korea and Russia. When that did not work out well, he started a worldwide trade war. That certainly got the attention of our former allies around the world.

And since no one got sick anymore, he withdrew from the World Health Organization.

On the positive side, drawing on his background in construction, he did get started on his great wall.

If the “new normal” turns out to be a continuation of the same old normal, I think I’ll opt out. Maybe isolation was not all that bad. For one thing, I didn’t get the flu, and I saved a lot of money not buying clothes, gasoline, fancy meals, or theater tickets.

Seriously, I did reflect back over recent history, looking for a period of normalcy to serve as an example for the “new normal” to follow. I checked the headline news from various periods. Sadly, I didn’t find a good one.

In hindsight, it seems we were always facing a crisis or disaster. Pick your timeframe. There was always something happening. Even if you go back to the 1960s.

A laundry list of headlines would include Vietnam. Nixon. Watergate. Iran hostages. Middle East oil embargo and gas shortage. Swine flu. Rampant inflation. Iraq. Afghanistan. Stock market crash. AIDS crisis. Domestic terrorists. Black Lives Matter. School shooting. Middle East unease. Hurricanes. Floods. 9/11. Jan. 6, 2021. Kennedy assassination. Income inequality. Impeachment. Recession. Environmental disasters. Police violence. Y2K fears. Mass shootings. Oklahoma City federal building. Ruby Ridge. Unemployment. Wildfires. Underemployment. Dying cities. Chinese ambition. Computer hacking. Ultra right-wing groups. Pandemic.

And more. Take your pick. When you compile a list, none of the previous normal periods sound like much fun.

I don’t know what the “new normal” will look like. I just hope it avoids the problems of the past. Living in total isolation is not a good answer.

I guess we will have to take it one day at a time. Just as we always have.

Hank Weber

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Hank Weber,